Getting Started

When F‑Stop Media Gallery is first started, it begins scanning all media (both photos and videos) on your device. This task can take some time depending on how much content needs to be processed. Unlike other applications that only create thumbnails, F‑Stop also parses all the information stored inside your media such as: tags, ratings, date taken, and much more. Scanning continues in the background even without F-Stop open. This allows your media collection to be processed while you perform other tasks. This process can be paused if necessary to save battery.


Status icon indicating background scan is in progress


Scanning progress can be viewed from the notification panel


Scans can be paused and resumed from the notification panel to save battery

F-Stop’s deep scanning allows it to provide you with powerful features like sort by the actual date taken, instantly search tags and ratings, create albums and smart albums, etc. It can even read tags and ratings other applications saved into your images so you can tag and rate them outside of F-Stop. For example, media tagged and rated on a PC can be read by F‑Stop. The only prerequisite is that the PC program saves the data to the photo itself and not to its own database. Windows Live Photo Gallery, Picasa and Lightroom are a good examples of programs that do this.

Getting Around

Using the menus with and without hardware keys

Long-press on thumbnails, folders, tags, albums, etc. for more options

Quick Range Selection (v2.2.0+)

  1. Long-press to start selection mode
  2. Long-press on the end of first selection
  3. Tap on the start of second selection
  4. Long-press on the end of second selection
  5. Repeat steps 3-4 for subsequent selections


When F‑Stop is first started and the media scan has begun, the navigation drawer on the left hand side of the screen is opened. This is the main navigation and allows quick and easy access to all the views of the app.  To open the drawer up again, just swipe from the left edge of the screen or tap the 3 line icon in the upper left corner.


Menu icon


Swipe from the edge


Navigation drawer open


This section details the different views available from the Navigation Drawer.


The folder view is the typical view seen in most gallery applications. It ONLY displays the folders that contain valid media on your device. You can include and exclude which folders are scanned by going to Settings > Main. Additionally, you can long press on a folder and select “Exclude” to remove it from your library.
It is important to note that you can also create folders with F-Stop but the folder won’t initially show up because there aren’t any media files in it. Also, you must ensure that the folder you create is scanned by F-Stop by making sure it is in the included folders and not in the excluded folders.
Deleting a folder will not delete the entire folder from disk unless it is completely empty. Instead, it will only delete the valid media in that folder that causes the folder to disappear from the folders view. This is done intentionally since you may have other files in the folder that you do not want to delete but isn’t shown to you by F-Stop.

Nested Folders

Nested folders is a paid feature introduced in version 2.2.0. It allows you to view your media by the folder structure on your device. Unlike regular folders, nested folders will show all included folders and subfolders regardless if there is valid media inside them. In general, nested folders are very useful for people that organize their media by folders.
Deleting a nested folder will not delete the entire folder from disk. Instead, it will only delete the valid media in that folder. Since the nested folder view shows all the folders, the folder will not disappear from the view. We do not completely remove the folder from disk because you may have other files in the folder that you do not want to delete but isn’t shown to you by F-Stop.
If you do not want to see the folder in the nested folders view, you just need to long-press on the folder and select “Exclude” from the dialog. Please remember that this will exclude subfolders as well.

Nested Folders


The album view is a very powerful organizational tool that is unique to F‑Stop Media Gallery and provides these main functions: Standard Albums, Smart Albums and Nested Albums.

Standard Albums

Standard albums are basically a group of images or videos that can be added from different locations on your device. When you add media to albums, the files are not copied or duplicated so it does not waste additional space on your memory card.
Media can be added after entering selection mode (long pressing on an image) and selecting “Add to album”. Multiple images can be selected as well by simply tapping on them or using Quick Range Selection. See below.

Add to Album

Smart Albums

The smart album feature is the most powerful organizational tool because it provides the ability to set up simple rules and the images and/or videos are automatically added to the smart album. Click the following button to see a full list of smart album conditions.

Multiple conditions can be set for each smart album as well as adding combinations of condition types. For example, adding a condition of “Date Taken After 7/24/2009” and then adding condition “Date Taken before 7/24/2012” creates a rule to only add media between these dates.
Smart albums can be edited by long-pressing on the album and selecting “Edit”. The conditions can also be edited by simply tapping on them.

Nested Albums

This paid feature allows the creation of albums inside of albums (similar to the folder structure on your computer). These albums can be standard or smart albums and significantly enhances media organization. An example is creating a standard album with the name “People”. Inside that album you can create smart albums with the names of all the people you want under this album. You can even add additional conditions like only use images with a rating of 4 or 5. You could go even further by creating albums such as “Family” and “Friends” under the top level album “People”.


Tagging is a great way to organize your media and is supported in F‑Stop Media Gallery. Entering this view will display all the tags found in your media. Selecting the tag will display all the images with that particular tag. The same image can have multiple tags and can show up in many tag folders but does not take up any additional space on your memory card. The tagging view is shown below.

Tagging View

In version 2.0.0, we also introduced the ability to edit your list of tags. This option is available in the tag view shown above by pressing the three vertical dots or your menu button and selecting “Edit Tags”. You also have the option to remove unused tags from the “Edit tag” view. See below.

Editing Tags

Note: As of version 2.0.0 F‑Stop can read AND write tags. Writing tags is only supported in the paid version.


In this view you can see images grouped by ratings. Tapping on a rating will display all images with the selected rating.


The favorites feature was introduced in version 2.4.0. It allows you to mark or “favorite” any media file you want and F-Stop will place it in this special folder as well as mark it with a status icon. Media can be favorited in the thumbnail view as well as the media viewer. Favorite information is stored in the internal database and not as metadata. Please use ratings if you would like that functionality.


This view allows you to password protect any images or videos. They are not visible to other applications and you can only access them from F‑Stop Media Gallery if you know the correct password. Unlike some other image viewers, this view can protect individual files and not just folders. It does not just add the Android “.nomedia” file to hide the folder.


This view consolidates all your videos from your device and allows you to view them with one tap on the Navigation Drawer.

All Media

F‑Stop Media Gallery keeps track of the media you like the most and puts them in this special folder for easy viewing from the navigation drawer.

Offline Media

Offline media was introduced in version 1.1.1. It addresses the issue of media being moved or deleted outside of the application. Before Offline Media support, if F‑Stop found that a file was missing, all organizational data (tags, ratings, etc.) was removed from its internal library/database. This scenario can happen when an SD card is removed or even if the phone or tablet is plugged into a computer via USB on some devices (SD card is not visible to apps anymore).  Now, these files are marked with a status icon (see below) and displayed under the “Offline Media” navigation drawer folder. Any operations done inside of F‑Stop Media Gallery will not result in offline media since F-Stop knows where the files went and how they got there.

Offline View

OK, so now you have some offline media. Now what? Well, if you really meant to move or delete these files permanently then you can just remove them from the F-stop library. This can be done easily by going into the Offline Media view, selecting all the media you would like to remove and pressing the delete option. Remember that to select media files, you need to long press on a thumbnail to enter the selection mode. Alternatively, you can delete these files through any other view as well. The Offline Media view just provides a convenient way to access all files marked as Offline.
If the media is truly offline (say on an SD card or something) just leave the files where they are located. Once the storage media is available again, you will be able to view these files. Offline files cannot be moved, copied or viewed in the image viewer but they can be added to albums, tagged and rated.
**As of version 2.0.0 you now have the option of disabling Offline Media (it is now disabled by default). The setting can be found in Settings > Main.

Update Media

The “Update Metadata” feature was introduced in version 2.0.0. This navigation drawer folder contains all of the media files that have not yet had their tags and ratings updated to disk. F-Stop provides this folder for quick access to these files so you can easily see all your media that isn’t updated to disk. Long pressing on a thumbnail will bring up a new menu with options that allow you to save or revert metadata. Choosing “Save metadata” will save the metadata to disk while “Update metadata from disk” will read the metadata already saved to the file and revert to that metadata.

Image Viewer

When viewing images, F‑Stop Media Gallery provides all the normal operations like swiping between images, slideshow, double tap to zoom and pinch to zoom.

F‑Stop Media Gallery provides another unique feature which is not available in any other app. You can save the current zoom and position of every image. For example, if you don’t like the layout of an image you could crop it but that would change the original image. Instead, you can zoom and position the image as you like and then save it using this feature. After it is saved, the image will not be changed on your memory card but it will always be opened in that particular zoom and position — just as if the image had been cropped.

Save position and zoom

Step 1 – Original image

Step 2 – Image after altering position and zoom

Step 3 – Icon in the top right corner tells you that this image has locked zoom and position.


This section will describe some advanced or more interesting settings. You can access settings from the navigation drawer.

Settings > Main > Included folders

This is list of all folders that will be scanned for media. Normally, if you have only one storage location in your device you won’t have to change this. However, some devices have both internal and external storage. In these cases, you will sometimes have to manually add the path to one of these storage locations.

Settings > Main > Excluded folders

List of folders that you don’t want to scan for media. Media in these folders will be ignored.
* Tip: You can add folders to this list by long-pressing on the folder and selecting “Exclude folder”.

Settings > Layout and Drawing > Status overlay icons

This feature overlays small icons on top of the thumbnails to indicate specific information about the file such as if it contains any tags or location data. See the table below for details.

Tag: Displayed when media file has one or more tags
Favorites: Displayed when the media file is marked as a favorite
Rating: Displays the media file rating with stars
Location: Displayed when media file contains location information
Offline media: Displayed when the media file is moved or deleted outside of F-Stop. This icon cannot be hidden.
‘Not updated’: Displayed when media file has updated tags or ratings that need to be saved to disk

Status Icons

Settings > Layout and Drawing > Draw square thumbnails
F‑Stop Media Gallery can either crop your thumbnails to a square, or leave them with their correct aspect ratio. Changing this setting requires the regeneration of the thumbnails and could take up to 1 minute to complete. See below.

Settings > Layout and Drawing > Columns in portrait (or landscape)
When viewing your media in the list view, you can select how many columns are displayed for both portrait and landscape orientations. This is more useful on large displays such as tablets.


  • Multiple conditions can be set for smart albums. For example, you can set a “date taken” date for before and after to get the date range you want. You can also select multiple tags as well.
  • Changing the view mode to List View will provide more technical details such as file name, size, etc. than the Grid View.
  • There is an option to draw a border around all the thumbnails in Settings > Layout and Drawing > Draw thumbnail border